A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

  Saturday 7 June 2003

Rina's cafe closes & sharing an 'A', The Arte Cafe opens and A Suitable Book  moves to a bigger space. 
The big A. 

It's been a few weeks since I've had time to walk down through the town. Last weekend I watched the The Fat Goose Restaurant sign being painted out and I photographed the empty red board. This weekend there's an awkward looking sign with a badly painted big 'A' that looks uncomfortably like the much more stylishly designed one on our local bookshop, A Suitable Book. The green display sandwich boards out front have also been hurriedly painted to remove the lettering that used to say 'Woodworks' above the ' Gallery, Cafe'. Why all the rush? 

Well, Marg and Rod who built the Woodworks Cafe up over the years (and were then told to leave abruptly) have found a new 'home', one with some history. It is in what was the traditional French restaurant in town when we arrived, then sold and re-opened as The Fat Goose. The Goose had good stylish food and we visited as often in five months as we had its predecessor in five years. (We couldn't raise enough enthusiasm over a very old fashioned French menu at La Normandie, which seemed more 'tired' than 'traditional'.) It was sad to see the picture of the goose being painted out and another business closing, but good to see another in its place. 

This raises a point that I'm sure will be discussed for years, as the population of the town grows. I don't know if there are enough people, in and around the town, to support a local fine dining restaurant. Expecting people to travel out from Canberra on the Bungendore road at night isn't realistic, which leaves just the lunch and weekends for business. We'd pass the Fat Goose some nights and see only two or three people in the empty dining room. There were some occasions when a function or a big party would fill the place, but that was obviously not enough.

The new Arte Cafe seems to have had a busy first week, it is not opening at night yet but apparently intends to, and is open for lunch seven days a week. Let's hope it is as successful as the Beetle Nutt (a local food success story that I wrote about here) in finding the right price point and friendly 'tone'.

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance, before Rina closed her small cafe, to try her traditional full breakfast. It seemed to be the most popular item as I walked past the outdoor tables on a weekend. There were always a few big motorbikes out front, and it looked like the regular place to stop on the way to the coast. My daughter's best friend from primary school used to work there on weekends and school holidays. All the local girls depend on these places for part time work (especially before they get their own cars and their employer range is wider). With two Bungendore daughters who work part time, there are lots of reasons to wish new businesses in town, well.


  Fred Harden 2003 <thinktag> After a few days, these entries are added to the Archive Menu

Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden